What Are Some Facts About Silverback Gorillas?

Adult male gorillas, or silverback gorillas as they are known, can grow to be 6 feet tall and approximately 480 pounds. They usually live from 35 to 50 years. Gorillas are herbivores, which means that they consume plant matter. Because their food is low in nutrients, gorillas have to eat up to 40 pounds worth of food on a daily basis.

Because of their dietary behavior, gorillas have abnormally large intestines for digesting bulky plant matter. In order to collect their plant-based diet, gorillas have extremely powerful arms. Their upper bodies are also six times stronger than the upper body of humans. Gorillas usually walk on all four limbs, although they are capable of standing and walking upright. An average day for a gorilla consists of spending one-third of the day playing and searching for sustenance, one-third eating their food and one-third sleeping.

A typical group of gorillas consists of one male leader, a young male, three or four fully grown females and between three and six young gorillas under the age of 8 years old. They communicate using a series of 22 distinguishable sounds. Disputes can occur if a lone male contacts a new group, but gorillas are typically calm by nature. At the age of 8, female gorillas leave the troop to mate. They either live with a single silverback or join a new troop.